A metal microbot that can melt, pass through bars, then return to a solid state and continue working has been developed by researchers at universities in China, Hong Kong, and the United States.
Details about Scientists Create ‘Terminator’ Robot That can Escape Cages
The team of scientists used a composite of metals with a low melting point as part of a study into metal microparticles and presented their findings in the journal Matter(Opens in a new window) (Opens in a new window). The robot’s creators think that because it can access confined locations, the device—which has been compared to the cybernetic assassin T-1000 from the Terminator film series—may be useful in medical and mechanical settings.
The microbot was heated to 95 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the experiment, at which point it changed into liquid form after 1 minute and 20 seconds of being fired with magnetic fields at alternating currents (35 Celsius). More magnets let the microbot navigate the cage’s openings after it was liquid metal.
The microbot, according to The Washington Post(Opens in a new window), could stretch, divide, and merge while it was a liquid. When solid, it could travel at speeds of up to 3 mph and transport loads that were up to 30 times heavier than it. When solid, the robot’s width is less than 0.4 inches.
Chengfeng Pan, an engineer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a co-author of the study, said in an interview with The Washington Post that the microbot’s substance could perform “rapid movement and heavy load-bearing” in its solid state as well as “shape shifting” in its liquid stage.
He continued, “Potential applications in flexible electronics, health care, and robotics are possible with this material system.
The researchers claim that this is the first time a material that allows for both form change and the carrying of heavy loads has been discovered for use in microbots.
The trial, according to the scientists’ paper, showed that the robot could deliver medications or remove foreign things from a model stomach.